By Anna Jauhola
Two regular backroad routes should soon be available to the driving public again as construction and repair work wraps up.
Six miles of CSAH 1, or the angle road, have been under construction since mid-May for a total reconstruction and curve realignment. Questions of when work will end and the road will reopen have been circulating in the community.
“It’s moving along really well and it looks really nice out there,” said Andrea Weleski, Kittson County engineer. “They’re still working on the base of the curve – it’s a new curve, so they had to build it up from a clay bottom. They’re going to be hauling gravel in and we’re going to use the old millings from the road, mixing it to create a nice base and curve.”
Before putting base aggregate material on top of the curve, Weleski said Davidson Construction and its subcontractor will do a test roll to determine strength.
This portion of the project was also recently delayed when a large vehicle drove on the curve, it was overweight, and it sank into the project up to the axles.
“So Davidson had to take out all that material, disc it up, let it dry up and repack it,” Weleski said. “It’s creating more of an inconvenience for us to fix it if something happens to the road, or for us having to watch out for hauling traffic.”
Weleski urges the public, especially now with harvest ramping up, to take alternate routes around construction on CSAH 1.
“Four months of inconvenience for the next 20 years is a small price to pay,” Weleski said.
She also reminds the public the CSAH 1 project is so lengthy because it was a total reconstruction. The 6-mile stretch of road was widened by 4 feet, which meant building up new shoulders.
“They had to take all that material, pack it into the inslopes, then create the ditches and push it out. There’s a lot of dirt in that project,” Weleski said. “They didn’t just mill up the road, they dug it up. They took the pavement off, then built it up from the aggregate gravel base. It’ll have rumble strips on it too, so it’s a good safety improvement.”
The road is still gravel and remains closed. There isn’t a specific schedule for paving, but Weleski is hopeful it will be soon as Davidson Construction is also the contractor for the Highway 75/175 project in Hallock. Their subcontractor, Agassiz Asphalt, recently started staging its paving materials. Despite that, the DOT still needs to do inspections and certify equipment and operations before they can start.
“I wish people would understand there’s a million other things going on behind the scenes that lead up to this process,” Weleski said. “We don’t just throw something on paper. It takes two-plus years to design a project like this and to get it where it’s at.”
CSAH 7 Curve
A popular shortcut for many as they head for North Dakota has also been closed, but for much longer than CSAH 1. The curve on CSAH 7 west of the Kennedy beet piler, has been closed since early spring due to flood waters, and subsequently the damage those flood waters caused.
“The contractors are out there working right now,” Weleski said last week. “The water came up to the edge of the curve on the east side. The wave action with 50-60 mph winds took out the shoulder material, and then undermined the shoulder under the pavement. We removed the bad material from underneath and we’re reworking it.”
Two feet of material was washed away on the curve, leaving a huge drop and safety hazard for drivers.
There is no date for paving on the curve yet either, but Davidson Construction will be only paving the shoulders. She said by using millings to restabilize the curve, it’ll be like solid surface pavement on the shoulder.
“So hopefully, by the next flood, that doesn’t happen again,” she said.
By Anna Jauhola